Erika Nakajima, 2021, Applied Math-Biology & Anthropology


Applied Math-Biology

Dual Concentrator



Study Abroad

Work-Study / On-Campus Employment



Why You Chose APMA:
  • I've always really enjoyed solving math problems, and I think adding in different aspects of what I learn in my math classes to my other fields of study make it incredibly more powerful. I became specifically interested in how math applies to biology during a summer internship my freshman year when I had the chance to participate in a meeting with a company that mathematically modeled pharmacokinetic responses of different drug doses. These models helped determine which dosage amounts and timeframes could lead to success in clinical trials. I came to realize that math is prevalent in almost all types of research, and I was amazed that math had the power to make or break a drug. APMA at Brown is so great because I've really learned to appreciate the intersectionality of different types of knowledge.
  • Multivariable Calculus (MATH 0180)
  • Linear Algebra (MATH 0520)
  • Applied Ordinary Differential Equations (APMA 0350)
  • Applied Partial Differential Equations (APMA 0360)
  • Statistical Inference I (APMA 1650)
  • Inference in Genomics (APMA 1080)
  • Equilibrium, Rate, and Structure (CHEM 0330)
  • Organic Chemistry I (CHEM 0350)
  • Organic Chemistry II (CHEM 0360)
  • Biochemistry (BIOL 0280)
  • Cellular and Molecular Biology (BIOL 0500)
  • Basic Physics A (PHYS 0030)
  • The 1001 Nights (COLT 0510K)
  • Addictions and Recovery (ANTH 1300)
  • Medical Illustration (PLME 0400)


Field(s) of interest:
  • Biotechnology: I enjoy learning about and participating in research to develop novel therapeutic strategies geared towards improving the efficacy, production process, and distribution of medical treatments. I think math and computing have the potential to revolutionize drug discovery, which is why I am interested in finding new ways to apply mathematical concepts to real-life research questions. 
  • Medicine: I find translational medicine, the movement of medical treatments from bench to clinic, interesting to learn about because of the complexity of the human body and the healthcare system. This part of discovering treatments involves the collaboration of people from different fields of study, which is something I enjoy witnessing and partaking in. 
  • Patient Care: Studying anthropology has given me a different perspective on healthcare from my biology background and has increased my interest in how the biomedical and biosocial approaches can be used in tandem to provide the best care for patients. 
Involvement at Brown:
  • Lead coordinator for Women in Science and Engineering (WISE), artist for Vagabond Magazine, Organic Chemistry tutor, undergraduate researcher, publicity chair for Japanese Cultural Association, PAL tutor
Other personal topics willing to discuss:
  • Double concentration
  • Study abroad
  • Being a woman in STEM


Internships, Research, and other professional experience:
  • Summer 2017/2018: I interned at CAMP4 Therapeutics (a startup biotech company in Cambridge, MA developing a gene circuitry platform to increase the efficiency of drug discovery) for two summers in the translational sciences team. I helped with the wet lab work and data analysis that would contribute to the data supporting the company's platform.
  • Summer 2019: I interned at Massachusetts General Hospital (Cancer Center), helping to investigate the mechanisms underlying resistance to CDK4/6 inhibitors in metastatic HR-positive breast cancer patients. 
  • On-Campus: During the school year, I do research in the Elias Lab (Molecular Microbiology and Immunology department). Under Dr. Yang Zhou, I am currently helping to investigate pulmonary arterial hypertension. I hope to do my senior thesis with Professor Zhou in the coming year.  I work as an Organic Chemistry I/II tutor as well as a coordinator for Women in Science and Engineering. 
Other Professional topics willing to discuss:
  • Scientific and/or clinical research, biotech internships, pre-med, volunteering/jobs